Sometimes, in my kitchen, at our friends’ home using their grill, and in the food blogging world, things just don’t go as planned. Recipes go horribly awry; pictures turn out blurry; fluorescent lighting makes food appear greenish, blueish or just plain blah.
Or the incredibly simple but WOW shrimp recipe I’ve loved and made for years – with Beautiful Grill Marks Every Single Time – ends up having Zero Grill Marks, Whatsoever the one time I finally remembered to take photographs.
Thankfully, despite a few snafus during the cooking process, the shrimp still tasted pretty freakin’ great.
Snafus?? Well, let’s just say that, if a man walking around in an Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat offers to grill the shrimp you’ve so carefully and beautifully marinated … (more…)
Growing up, my mother always made corned beef, cabbage and potatoes for St. Patrick’s Day. I can’t recall eating cabbage any other day in the entire year, but I really looked forward to it each March. This year, I couldn’t quite wait for the holiday to arrive (and I didn’t have any corned beef left over quite yet to make corned beef hash and cheese bread), so I got my cabbage fix in a little early, swapping out traditional potatoes for the lighter, foodier celery root in the process.
If you have not tried celery root (also called celeriac) before, it’s a really strange-looking type of celery that’s grown as a root vegetable. Don’t be intimidated by its furrowed surface, as it actually has a very mild flavor that seems to be a cross between a potato and celery. But unlike its root vegetable brethren, celery root is very light in starch. Give it a try; you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised that this ugly root can taste so light and fresh!
As for cabbage, I know it’s not the most popular leafy green vegetable in the produce section. And if you’ve ever had it cooked to death in a soup or stew, or boiled to death for St. Patrick’s Day, I don’t blame you for hating it. But if you give cabbage another chance, you might find that it can taste positively delightful when cooked properly to an “al dente” texture that retains the slightest bit of crunch. And it’s usually dirt cheap.
The combination of al dente strips of cabbage and tender cubes of celery root creates a surprisingly light and fresh-tasting dish, as contrasted with the heavier boiled cabbage and potato combination. (more…)
On those beautifully sunny winter days when it’s almost temperate outside, I long for the colorful, juicy produce of summer. In those moments, I often forget about the vibrant fruit available to spruce up winter salads, and I suspect others are guilty of making this same mistake.
Tart pomegranate seeds and sweet pears bring some crunch to this salad, while the pulpy sweetness of persimmons is balanced by peppery arugula the creamy saltiness of goat cheese. Tossed with a sweet, slightly tangy and herby Orange-Thyme Vinaigrette, this salad showcases the best flavors and colors that winter has to offer and gives summer salads a run for their money.
Do you buy pre-made, bottled vinaigrette for your salads? If so, it’s okay. I’m not one to judge on this matter. Occasionally, I go on a Kraft Ranch Dressing bender. And I’ve been buying Girard’s Greek Feta Vinaigrette for years; with each purchase, I told myself that this one would be my last and that I was only making this last purchase so I could figure out how to recreate it from scratch with fresh ingredients at home. And so I lied to myself. Several times, and over several years. And I still haven’t even attempted it.
Having said that, vinaigrette is so easy to make at home, and tastes so fresh and delicious compared to the store-bought stuff that I really should make it from scratch more often. With a handy food processor or immersion blender (or even a whisk!) by my side, it literally takes seconds to come together.
With the citrusy bite of lemon and mustardy kick of Dijon balanced by a hint of tangy fresh dill and a touch of sweet honey, this particular vinaigrette is great on everything from salads and pastas to fish and chicken. (more…)
October might be on its way out the door, but that only gives me another reason to have a final hurrah in the form of an October feast. And what’s a better way to do that than with a colorful, flavorful, one-pot (and one foil sheet) warm potato salad with bratwurst and kale in creamy but spicy mustard sauce?
Traditional Oktoberfest meals are always so flavorful, but also so … brown. Nothing against brown food, but with plenty of options for colorful veggie add-ins, I can’t quite understand why fall feasts systematically embrace such monochromatic earth tones.
Here, I used a trio of mini potatoes to add an unbelievable zap of color, from the creamy light yellow flesh of the standard fingerling to the pink peel and bright white flesh of the red thumb fingerling to the dark purple peel and bright purple flesh of the purple majesty. All three held their coloring after roasting and developed slightly different flavors and creamy textures perfect for a potato salad.